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Morton woman sentenced to 36 years in autistic daughter’s death
Karen McCarron of Morton, seen here in July 2006, is expected to be sentenced today in the death in her autistic daughter. (AP Photo/Pekin Daily Times, Josh Bradshaw)

PEKIN - Karen McCarron was sentenced Tuesday to 36 years in prison for the 2006 suffocation of her 3-year-old autistic daughter.

Tazewell County Judge Stephen Kouri sentenced the 39-year-old mother to more than three decades in prison for the murder of Katherine "Katie" McCarron. A jury convicted McCarron in January of murder.

McCarron, who is a pathologist, must serve 100 percent of the prison term. She also was fined $25,000 and ordered to serve 30 months of supervised release after her prison term.

Tazewell County Chief Assistant State's Attorney Kevin Johnson asked for a 50-year prison term. The prosecutor said after the sentencing hearing that he was satisfied that justice was served.

McCarron's decision to suffocate the child by placing a garbage bag over the girl's head on Mother's Day in 2006 is an aberration among parents with disabled children, said Johnson.

"The vast majority of parents accept their child's disability with grace and dignity. That is the norm," said Johnson.

McCarron's frustration with her daughter's medical condition was among the testimony offered during the nine-day trial.

Defense attorney Marc Wolfe sought the minimum sentence of 20 years.

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